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American hostage pleads for his life
01:50 - Source: CNN

Story highlights

A U.S. and Yemeni special forces raid last week freed hostages but not the American

Luke Somers is a photojournalist who was captured in September 2013

Special forces planned the raid, when AQAP militants were seen transferring hostages

The militants had split the hostages into two groups two days before the raid

CNN  — 

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In the recording recently posted by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also known as AQAP, the terror group threatens to kill Luke Somers, if Washington does not meet its demands.

AQAP member Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, who reads a statement, does not say what the demands are but claims that the U.S. government knows them.

Somers also gives a short statement asking for help and identifying himself.

“My name is Luke Somers. I’m 33 years old. I was born in England, but I carry American citizenship and have lived in America for most of my life,” he says.

Somers, a photojournalist, fell into the hands of kidnappers in September last year. He missed being saved in a raid last week by U.S. and Yemini special forces that freed eight hostages.

The raid was planned after al Qaeda militants were spotted transferring the hostages into pickups, “chained and covered in blankets,” according to a website associated with Yemen’s defense ministry.

Militants drove them to a cave over 65 miles away from the town of Hajir al-Saiyer.

U.S. and Yemeni special forces outfitted with night visors embarked on the mission about four miles from the cave. They encountered the kidnappers nearby; a gun battle ensued, and the forces killed all seven abductors.

They also freed eight chained up hostages, who told them that militants had moved five more hostages, including Somers, to another location.

The Yemeni account did not mention the U.S. Special Forces, but a U.S. official confirmed their participation. CNN, at the request of the government, delayed reporting the information about the raid, so as not to endanger the search for Somers and the other hostages at that time.

More on detained Americans

CNN’s Barbara Starr and Adam Levine contributed to this report